Australia Poised To Adopt Law That Permits Virtually Unlimited Government Internet Surveillance | thinkprogress

The Australian government is primed to give the nation’s spy agency unfettered access to citizens’ computer networks and potentially put journalists in jail thanks to drafted national security reform laws passed by the country’s Senate Thursday, The Sydney Morning News reported.

The Australian Senate passed an anti-terrorism bill called the “National Security Legislation Amendment Bill” that would give the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) more power to monitor Web traffic. If finalized, the law permits ASIO agents to search and monitor an unlimited number of computers on a particular network based on a single warrant request. Journalists, bloggers and government whistleblowers could also spend up to 10 years in prison for revealing details of intelligence operations, as part of the law. The bill is set to be voted on and approved by Australian’s House of Representatives next week. [Read more]

Dangerous Law In Australia Could Criminalize Basic Reporting and Gut Internet Freedom | Freedom Press

Earlier today, the Australian Senate passed a sweeping new ‘anti-terror’ law that will allow the Australian government to conduct mass surveillance on all of its citizens, will make whistleblowing on intelligence issues a crime, and threatens to criminalize basic reporting. The bill is an enormous threat to press freedom, free speech, and privacy, and we condemn it in the strongest terms.

The bill still has to pass Australia’s House and be adopted by the country’s prime minister. We implore both the House and Prime Minister to re-consider, but many believe it a foregone conclusion that the bill will become law of the land as early as next week. [Read more]

McCarthyism, Japan-style | Japan Times

The right-wing media and politicians have turned up the volume of their attack on the Asahi Shimbun after the newspaper retracted and apologized for past articles on the “comfort women” and for reports on the testimonies of Masao Yoshida, the late chief of Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant at the time of the March 2011 meltdown disaster.

The current situation poses a problem that not only concerns a single newspaper publisher but also could greatly affect the future of political discussion and even the direction of democratic politics in this country. [Read more]

‘Surveillance state’ | NewsReview

“After 9/11 …” began speaker and former CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

“… everything changed,” the audience finished.

McGovern was addressing a room full of students, professors and citizens last Thursday (Sept. 18) at Selvester’s Café by the Creek on the Chico State campus. The topic of discussion: government surveillance.

It’s all about the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, said McGovern, who returned his CIA Intelligence Commendation Medal in 2006 in protest of the agency’s use of torture. In 1978, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act put that amendment, which protects American citizens from “unreasonable searches and seizures,” into context by requiring a court order for wiretapping and other forms of surveillance. [Read more]

NZ: the limits of scandal-mongering | Spiked

New Zealand’s opposition parties need to offer more than Wikileaked conspiracy theories.

he New Zealand General Election is over, and the governing party, the National Party, has held on for a third term with just over 48 per cent of the vote. This is despite the fact that over the course of the six-week-long campaign, allegations of dirty politics (which resulted in the resignation of justice minister, Judith Collins), and the attempted exposure of a mass state-surveillance programme, have dominated political discussion and dogged the National Party’s re-election efforts. [Read more]

Will We Have Any Privacy After the Big Data Revolution? | Time

Does the rise of big data mean the downfall of privacy? Mobile technologies now allow companies to map our every physical move, while our online activity is tracked click by click. Throughout 2014, BuzzFeed’s quizzes convinced millions of users to divulge seemingly private responses to a host of deeply personal questions. Although BuzzFeed claimed to mine only the larger trends of aggregate data, identifiable, personalized information could still be passed on to data brokers for a profit.

But the big data revolution also benefits individuals who give up some of their privacy. In January of this year, President Obama formed a Big Data and Privacy Working Group that decided big data was saving lives and saving taxpayer dollars, while also recommending new policies to govern big data practices. How much privacy do we really need? In advance of the Zócalo event “Does Corporate America Know Too Much About You?, we asked experts the following question: How can we best balance the corporate desire for big data and the need for individual privacy? [Read more]

Companies wrestle with vague, outdated privacy laws | Dell

One of the biggest assets companies possess is the online data they collect about their customers. Using very simple technologies, they can track browsing and consumer behavior and either sell or use that information without customers even knowing about it. The question is, how much right to privacy do consumers really have?

Technology often outpaces the law, which means companies operate in a murky area with consumer privacy. Because one wrong step can result in unhappy customers and a PR nightmare, businesses need to manage consumer data with a healthy balance of business, strategy and empathy. [Read more]

FBI Director James Comey ‘Very Concerned’ About New Apple, Google Privacy Features | Huffington Post

FBI Director James Comey said Thursday that he was “very concerned” about new steps Silicon Valley tech giants were taking to strengthen privacy protections on mobile devices.

“I am a huge believer in the rule of law, but I am also a believer that no one in this country is above the law,” Comey told reporters at FBI headquarters in Washington. “What concerns me about this is companies marketing something expressly to allow people to place themselves above the law.”

Apple said last week that it would no longer be technically feasible to unlock encrypted iPhones and iPads for law enforcement because the devices would no longer allow user passcodes to be bypassed. The move comes as tech companies struggle to manage public concerns in the aftermath of last year’s leak of classified National Security Agency documents about government access to private user data. [Read more] – Michael’s Blog